To What Extent Is Othello Responsible For His Own Downfall?

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A tragedy Is the story of an Individual whose downfall Is brought about by specific defects in his character, tragic flaws. The play, Othello, is a twisted tale of deceit and revenge. Ago creates an alternate world filled with lies, that unfortunately consumes the trusting and naive Othello. Othello downfall comes about due to a combination of the influence of Ago and the fatal character flaws of the otherwise virtuous Othello. Ago absolutely hates Othello. He Is angry with Othello for promoting Michael Cassia, an officer with no real battle experience, to lieutenant over him.

Once Ago comes up tit a plan for revenge it does not take very long for him to set it into motion. Sago’s plan is to cause Michael Cassia to fall out of Othello good graces. Once Cassia has lost his position as lieutenant Ago knows that Cassia will do anything to get it back, so he advises Cassia to get Othello wife, Desman, to speak on his behalf to Othello. Ago tells Cassia, “Our generals wife Is now the general… Confess yourself freely to her. Importune her to help to put you in your place again. ” Ago has begun his plan to poison Othello brain.

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Once Desman begins defending Cassia to Othello, Ago begins to make Othello hint that there is something odd in the situation and that Cassia and Desman are having an affair. Ago does this because he knows that Desman Is one of Othello only weak spots. Othello trusted Desman Implicitly “my life upon her faith”- showing the audience the extent to which her faithfulness rules his life and his trust. Ago knew Othello loved her so much he would do anything for her, and if he could destroy that love in some way his plan would work.

Ago is deliberately plotting for Othello downfall. Othello failed to recognize the strength of this love when Ago started to put the active thoughts of Infidelity Into his head. He started to believe Ago right away, and he seemed to forget how much Desman had already proved her love for him. Desman had previously stated “l do perceive here a divided duty… But here is my husband…. So much I challenge that I may profess Due to the Moor my lord”, Desman shows her loyalty to Othello. However it was Othello insecurity that caused his downfall.

If he had not been so Insecure then he would have been able to dismiss Sago’s words, and he would have been able to say to himself that our love Is so strong and pure that she would never be able to hurt me this way. Thus we are introduced to one of Othello fatal flaws, his insecurity. Another of Othello tragic flaws, which contribute to his downfall, is his open and trusting nature. Ago knows of Othello fault and states “The Moor is of a free and open nature/ That thinks men honest that seem to be so/And will as tenderly be led and codes of honor thoroughly.

He believes that people are honest and genuine until he has proof that they are not. This is what makes Othello easily susceptible to Sago’s schemes. He Judges people by their exterior behavior but really does not know anything about their ulterior motives. Ago takes no time in manipulating this flaw and transforms a one time soldier and righteous individual into a degrading and shameless wife murderer. Ago knows his plan will work because of Othello trustworthy nature. Furthermore, Othello has no real reason to suspect that his loyal ensign would scheme against him.

Using Jealousy as a weapon is what prompts Ago to plot the ultimate downfall of Othello. Jealousy is the most corrupting and destructive of emotions and is demonstrated throughout this drama by the protagonist, Othello. As the play progresses, we watch it’s vicious influence on the protagonist with compassion and error. Othello allows Ago to make him suspicious about Adhesion’s intentions in wanting to help Cassia to get his position back. Ago tells Othello, “Look to your wife; observe her with Cassia;… She did deceive her father marrying you. In reality it was Ago himself who told Cassia to ask for Adhesion’s help in the first place. Desman would never even think of cheating on Othello, and confirms this in Act 4, Scene 3 when she says, “Bestrew me if I would do such a wrong for the whole world. ” Even though Desman is a virtuous and innocent creature Othello still comes to live that she is a where who has slept with Cassia while married to him. Othello doesn’t show himself to be a Jealous person at the beginning but through Sago’s manipulation, we see the emotion work at full force.

Deceived by Sago’s skillful lies and convincing techniques, Othello must face emotions he can’t handle. Whenever he thinks of Cassia or his wife, an image of the two making love to each other in Othello bed appears. His Jealousy literally drives him mad. Othello becomes so enraged with the thought and even the sight of her that in Act 4, Scene 1 he calls her “devil” and strikes her in public. In fact he becomes so enraged with her that in Act 5, Scene 2 he states, “Yet she must die, else she’ll betray more men. ” Later in that scene he proceeds to smother her to death.

In actuality the only evidence that Othello has to prove her infidelity is the handkerchief that Ago places in Cassia’s house, and of course the words of Ago, whom he believes he can trust. His perception and conclusions are replaced by fury and hatred. However, the Othello is too late to realize what he’s done, and consequently this results in many lives lost, including his own. Othello allowed his passions to rule over reason, and for hat he paid, to him, the ultimate sacrifice. Although Othello was naive and wrong to put his trust in Ago without the presence of any real evidence, he did so partly because of his low self-esteem.

Othello was one of very few black men in Venice and Desman was a very young and very beautiful white woman. Othello had to feel extremely unworthy of her affections. Throughout the play Othello is reminded of his inferiority due to his blackness. Emilie refers to Othello as a “blacker devil” and Ago claims that Othello is “an old black ram”, “the in the society in which he lived. This made it easier for him to believe that Desman could possibly want someone else, someone easier on the eyes. However, in reality, there was no reason for him to believe this, and that is where Othello is truly flawed.

Desman was not blind. She knew whom she was marrying, and she chose Othello of her own free will. If she wanted to marry someone white she would have. Othello let himself be tricked by the lies of Ago, and so it was he who was responsible for his own downfall. After finding that his wife was faithful, he changes from the man we once knew. He is a broken man, broken because he killed the one hinge he was passionate about. Othello guilt is eventually the killer. Othello lack of self-knowledge makes him easy prey for Ago.

Othello Jealousy stems from his insecurity and feelings of inferiority. If Othello believed that Desman was completely devoted to him, he would not ever have killed her. Once Ago inflames Othello Jealousy and gets the darker aspects of Othello nature into action, there is nothing Othello can do to stop it, since he cannot even admit that he has these darker traits. Despite all this, Othello can be looked upon sympathetically to the extent that he did tot ask for this plan to come about. Everything that happened to him he did not plan.

He did not ask for Ago not to like him and therefore to set him up. He did not ask for Ago to put those negative thoughts into his head, and he certainly did not plan to kill his wife. Othello does bear the brunt for the responsibility of Adhesion’s death- after all, it was he himself who committed the murderous deed! However, one must also understand the reasons and circumstances which brought about the act. The manipulations by Ago upon Othello that allowed qualities common to humanity to reface, play a large part in the build up to the act of murder.

Ago also was the mechanism that transformed Othello values of honor and Justice into vengefulness and a rather obsessive hunger for morality in his world. It is evident, therefore, that Othello faults and virtues, all that makes him human, played a large part in the demise of Desman and himself yet without Ago, there would have been no tragedy to speak of. In the end it was Othello that made his own choices with his own free will, and so it was Justified when he had to pay for his mistakes, but the influence of Sago’s manipulation cannot be denied.

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To What Extent Is Othello Responsible For His Own Downfall?. (2018, Feb 02). Retrieved from

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